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What to do about the DUST

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I am presently shaping a hull getting it ready for planking. In the process I am covering the floor of my workshop in layers of dust and shavings generated by sanding and sanding and more sanding.  While sanding I fill the air with clouds of the fine dust.  This dust gets everywhere.  Once the task is done, I will break out the shop vac and try to vacuum up the settled clouds.  However, because the filter in the vac is not very fine, I will also create a smaller storm of dust.


I do wear a particle dust mask while sanding to protect me but is there anything else you guys do to control dust.  My shop is a corner of my garage.  I work with the door open to admit fresh air (which in December can be a bit brisk).  I wonder if I could set up fans to create an exhaust wind.


Any suggestions?

Completed Builds:  USS Cairo by BlueJacket;  Nave Egizia by Amati;  Harriet Lane by Model Shipways

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You can try the fans.  What someone (I think it's RustyJ's Winchelsea build) did was make a box with holes in it.  The shop vac plugs into it and all sanding is done on top such that the sawdust is pulled into the box and then the vac.   If your vac has an exit port that accepts a hose, run a hose out of the shop so the dust goes outside.  Or, get a shop vac that uses a bag and a filter.  I have one of those and work in the house.  There's no dust going anywhere. I also set it up to suck up the dust if I'm doing massive sanding with frequent stops to vacuum up any that falls by the wayside the rest of the time.

"The shipwright is slow, but the wood is patient." - me

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yes a system to pull the dust out as it's made is the best long term idea.  I recall when I was an aircraft mech. that I had a buddy who worked in the Civil Eng. wood shop that they had a system of fans and ductwork that took most of the saw dust away from the machines and dumped it outside the shop.

for a home system the shop vac running is about the best I can think of for a low cost.

if one wanted to kill off the sound you might check with the companies that make the in-home vacuum systems, they make them where you have outlets for the hose and a central vacuum down in the basement, the hose socket turns on the motor that is in the basement and you never hear it.

something like that might be adapted to a high end work shop.

Holding at Rigging stage :

MS Bluenose 1:64, rigging and finish work


Building Hull :

MS Fair American 1:48


In the yard:  18th Century Longboat, Model Shipways Kit

Done: AL Bounty Jolly Boat

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There are a number of sanding stations that can be purchased from wood working stores that allow you to place the object to be sanded on them and hook up a vacuum system to is and the dust is pulled down and into the vacuum. They come in various sizes and can be hooked to any type of vacuum system.


Central home vacuum systems would not produce the flow necessary to move large amounts of sawdust through them. They are designed for household dust. That said, there are a number of companies that do provide dust control systems. The shop vac is a good start. There are internal foam filters that can be added to the vac that captures the finer dust particles. Up from there are mobile systems that have large bags to capture and filter the dust. These have more airflow than the shop vac and are generally less noisy, although still pretty loud. They come on rollers and can be moved through the shop to connect to tools and needed. The bags come with different filtering capabilities. These also can have a small cyclone system added to them to drop the heavier dust onto garbage cans although it makes them less portable.


The next step up is a a full cyclone. This mounts to a wall and is stationary. Ductwork is piped from it to the various tools. The cyclone is an expensive option, but can really move the dust and drops it into a container that can be emptied as necessary.


All of these systems move dust as it come the source. These are connected to the dust ports on the tools so al dust is moved through the tool. There is however another source of dust that needs to be accounted for. That is the dust that is thrown from the tool as the blade spins. This becomes and ambient dust that none of the above systems will collect. Some tools are worse than others but any tool used will produce some dust that is not collected in the vac system.


For this, there are ambient dust collectors that are basically boxes with filtration material in them. Internal fans pull ambient air through the filters and clean the air. So these recycle the shop air and filtrate as it does so. These also come in different sizes depending on the size of your shop and how much air you want to turn over.


If you are able to just open the door of your garage then a strategically situated fan can take care of this. If your shop is buried in the basement of your house, then you need to take care of it through the vacuum and ambient filter systems. You can spend a lot on dust control but it is important. Inhaled dust can cause long term health issues. Just like secondary smoke, uncontrolled dust can affect others in your house if left unabated.


Chantilly, VA


Its not the size of the ship, but the bore of the cannon!


Current Build: Scratch Build Brig Eagle


Completed Build Log: USS Constitution - Mamoli

Completed Build Gallery: USS Constitution - Mamoli


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I have looked at a couple of box fan sanding stations.  A filter is placed over a 20" box fan which is enclosed in a frame.  You do your sanding over the standing station.  The fan draws the dust laden air thru the filter and exhausts filtered air below the fan.  Most designs call for filters from household cleaning and cooling units.  Looks better than nothing but I would still use a mask.


Anyone tried this solution.

Completed Builds:  USS Cairo by BlueJacket;  Nave Egizia by Amati;  Harriet Lane by Model Shipways

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